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English Labrador Retriever in Hilton Head Island, SC

For a classic English Labrador Retriever with the stocky appearance and otter tail, it is best to choose a breeder like Greenbriar Plantation who specializes in English lines. While some American Labs are very handsome, you won’t find the thickset, stockier dogs in kennels focused on the working lines of the Labrador Retriever. The most reputable breeders of the English Lab exhibit their dogs in the show ring. At minimum, a reputable breeder will own dogs whose parents or grandparents have had some success in the show ring. Successful dogs will have titles after their names such as SH CH (show champion). Aside from this, finding a good breeder is relatively the same whether you are looking for an English Lab or American Lab.

Greenbriar Plantation

The Future of the English Lab

Many people in the working retriever community are not overly concerned with the appearance of their dogs. Others would like to see Labradors with more classic English Lab looks, working in the field. And even other breeders have dabbled with field training English Labs or English/American mixes but without any high level of success in trials. Similarly, a few within the English Lab show community train their dogs to work in the shooting field. These types of breeders are few and far between. Greenbriar Plantation is 100% focused on breeding English Labrador Retrievers.

When talking about the future of the Labrador Retriever breed, it truly appears that the two common strains are here to stay. It also seems that English Labs will continue to be a clear and perhaps increasingly separate type from their American cousins. Whichever type of Labrador you choose, you’ll have a wonderful and beautiful companion for many years to come. English Labradors are still a largely unspoiled breed. Let’s hope it stays that way. We are doing our part.

The Differences Between American And English Labradors

If you’ve spent any time researching the specifics about Labrador Retrievers, you have probably come across the terms ‘American Type Labrador’ and ‘English Type Labrador’. These phrases are very commonly used when referencing different labs. But what do these terms mean? What inspired these terms and caused them to become commonly used? Are these terms related to geography or do they mean something else entirely?

Are There Really Two Types of Labradors?

The distinction between American and English type labs is not an official one, but the types are now almost universally recognized by all and there are distinct differences between them. Bottom line, when you go to a breeder for a Labrador Retriever, they will offer one or both of these types of Labrador. The best breeders breed to perfectly deliver the characteristics of one of the two recognized strains.

English Lab Vs American Lab Differences

English and American types of Labradors were mainly distinguished according to show (conformation dogs) or for hunt (field dogs) respectively. In general, these types of dogs are friendly, dependable, good natured, playful, and love human companionship. They are popular as companions and as service dogs. Moreover, the Labrador is first and foremost a retriever. English Labs make great hunters and American Labs make great family dogs even though their primary purpose wasn’t that during breeding.

Labradors bred for show and conformation have become commonly known as English type Labradors because they are far more common in the UK. Labradors bred for field trials and hunting have become commonly known as American type Labradors as that are far more common in the USA. Confusingly, there are American Labs that enter dog shows and there are English Labs competing in field trials and used for hunting. Greenbriar Plantation dogs have won awards for both show and field and are great family dogs, too.

The terms ‘American Labs’ and ‘English Labs’ aren’t absolute and strict terms, but more a useful guide of the probable type of Lab being described. As with any variations on a breed, there are many exceptions.

About Hilton Head Island, SC

Located in the southeast corner of the state, Hilton Head Island is the largest of the islands that flank South Carolina’s Atlantic coast. Its natural beauty made it attractive to investors, transforming Hilton Head from an isolated backwater to a world-famous resort and recreational community.

When unique change started to occur and development really took off was when Charles Fraser decided to create a new kind of resort community, one featuring sensitivity to nature and architectural harmony. The Sea Pines Company was organized to develop the family’s land, pieced together financing from textile and insurance interests. The result was Sea Pines Plantation, an oasis of taste and beauty amidst the hodgepodge of seashore development that dotted the Atlantic coast in the 1960s. Sea Pines attracted affluent retirees, second-home buyers, and vacationers from all over. The golf and tennis facilities and televised tournaments drew national attention.

Rapid growth came with the blossoming of Sea Pines. The Hilton Head Company followed Fraser’s lead, and other developers did the same, encircling the island with gated residential and resort communities. Resort hotels sprang up everywhere along the beachfront outside Sea Pines, along with restaurants, stores, banks, and movie theaters. With retirees and vacationers came a booming economy and many residents to support it on the island. The island’s economy survived a serious slump in the wake of the oil crunch in the 1970s. The Hilton Head company also went bankrupt in 1986 but the island survived. Annual gross sales doubled

between 1975 and 1981, and more than doubled to almost $700 million by 1990. Population grew rapidly, from 2,546 in 1970 to 23,694 in 1990, and another fifty percent during the 1990s.

Growth issues have been front and center in the modern history of Hilton Head Island. Dissatisfaction over the failure of Beaufort County to control growth on Hilton Head led to a long campaign for political independence. This resulted in the area becoming incorporated as the Town of Hilton Head Island in 1983. After incorporation, political conflict between retirees and residents centered on growth issues, involving local elections, referendums on no-growth proposals, and road construction. Interestingly, struggles overgrowth occurred in a place with the strictest land-use, building, and aesthetic requirements of any community in the state.

Today Hilton Head Island enjoys the state’s highest per capita income, excellent schools, superior health care, and fine hotels, restaurants, and shops. Its prosperity has spilled over to much of southern Beaufort County, in the form of resort and retirement communities, housing developments, shopping malls, and thousands of jobs in all areas to support the vibrant community and its growth.

Difference Between Labrador and Labrador Retriever?

All Labs should meet the same standard, Labrador and Labrador Retriever are the same dog. Labrador is typically just being used as a shortened version of the actual Labrador Retriever term. There is no difference, but there is only one Labrador Retriever (Canis familiaris). In Labrador breed standard, there is only one Labrador Retriever.

Do Lab Breed Standards Differ?

The UK kennel club, the AKC and any other national registry or parent club of Labrador Retrievers does not recognize in any way, a difference between American and English Labradors. They simply do not differentiate between Labs. Plain and simple, here is one Labrador breed standard.

With this said though, there are difference between English Labrador Retrievers and American Labrador Retrievers. Most notable is the body shape, head shape and tail shape. Also, there is an allowable height difference between the American and English breed standards: The American breed standard allows a height of between 21.5 to 24.5 inches while the English breed standard allows a height of 21.5 to 22.5 inches. With the exception of this difference, the two Labrador breed standards are essentially the same. They describe exactly the same dog. So why do people say there are two types?

What Does A Show Bred Labrador Look Like?

When compared to an American type lab, the English type: • Has a thicker, more powerful looking neck • Has a noticeably thicker coat • Has shorter legs and doesn’t stand quite as tall • Barrel chest • Noticeably wider and more ‘solid’ looking. • Has a wider head with a more pronounced and better defined stop • Fuller face and a shorter muzzle • Wider, thicker and generally straighter tail • Bred for conformation they’re usually far closer to how the breed standard is written than the American type

Difference In Temperament?

Although not always true and there are exceptions, generally speaking there is a profound difference in the temperament and energy levels of the American and English types. In general, the English Labrador is known to have a calmer demeanor overall.

English Labrador Energy Levels and Temperament

The English Lab is considered calmer, less active and quieter when compared with the American Lab. These dogs are most often described by their owners and those who encounter them as being sweet, mellow, extremely relaxed and quieter. They’re considered easier to train and to live with for less experienced and laid-back owners. They are the perfect family pet.

Although still ‘driven’ and suitable for life as a working dog, if a family pet is what’s desired, the English lab is far more suited for this role as they’re far less demanding when it comes to activity and will more readily lay on your feet or your lap at the end of a long day.

Breeding Divided the English Labrador

The reason there is a differences between English and American labs is due to many decades of specialized breeding. Labradors bred especially to hunt and compete in field-trials are selectively bred for their working abilities. Higher energy, higher drive, more athletic, slimmer built and agile dogs, these are the most desirable traits in a working Labrador. An English Lab is chosen for both hunting, or working, and for being a gentle companion at home.

Americans are bred with far less regard for conformity to the breed standard and more for their ability to perform than a Labrador bred for show. Labradors bred for show in conformation competitions are selectively bred for their looks and temperament, with the Labs most closely matching the breed standard and winning awards in the ring going on to be used in breeding programs.

It used to be a Labradors conformation and working ability were equally important, with many breeders aiming for the prestigious ‘double champion’ who would win in both the ring and out in the field. But the two disciplines have become so specialized and competitive in recent decades that double champions have become rarer and rarer with most breeders focused on a specialty. Greenbriar Plantation is one of those rare breeders that has had success in both the ring and the field.

Choosing An English Labrador Retriever

Especially bred for looks and temperament to match as closely as possible to the official breed standard, the English type Lab is perfect if you have any intentions to compete in conformation shows. Greenbriar Plantation focuses on breeding English Labradors. Our pups are less exuberant, less full of energy and aren’t as highly strung when compared to an American type Lab. They tend to calm down much sooner after puppy-hood and are more eager to please and train as a well-behaved companion.

If you’re looking for a Labrador that won’t be too high energy to manage, is easier to train, less demanding of activity and time and more suited to life as a family pet, then you should choose an English Labrador. We’d like to tell you more about the breed and invite you to come see how our dogs are cared for.

You can be assured your dog will still be everything you want it to be. English Labs have the right amount of energy. They’re still highly intelligent and energetic dogs that need regular exercise and their minds to be occupied, but compared to an elite American field trial or hunting Lab? Well, they’re just different! An English Lab is far more suited to life as a family pet. But a highly capable animal all the same.

Please Visit Us!

Please visit our kennel page for information about available puppies or upcoming litters.

We look forward to meeting you, speaking with you personally…. and we invite you to visit to see how our dogs are kept and our puppies are whelped. When you choose a puppy we will give you a helpful introduction to housebreaking and training so you get off to a great start with your new companion. We like to say our puppies are 90% housebroken when they leave Greenbriar.

To schedule a visit, or for questions... Call us at (803) 625-2555

Jim Burris & Kathy Sliz

" As breeders we are committed to three things. First, breed a better dog with the proper mating in looks, training ability, and behavior. Second, breed a healthy dog that conforms to the standards of the breed. Third, place the dog into the proper environment. "